Sutcliffe takes on foes

2012-10-20 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi administrator Sibusiso Sithole has until November 2 to oppose a R10 million lawsuit filed in the Durban high court by former eThekwini Municipality city boss Michael Sutcliffe relating to the Manase and Associates forensic investigation.

Sithole and the eThekwini Municipality were on Thursday served with summons for R2,5 million in general damages and R8 million in “special damages in the loss of income in that he [Sutcliffe] will now be unable to secure employment positions otherwise available to him”.

Sutcliffe said yesterday the lawsuit arose from statements Sithole made that the eThekwini Municipality had resolved to pursue criminal charges and take legal action against him to recover R1,1 million, which was uncovered by the Manase and Associates forensic probe.

“He alleges that this amount had been lost by the municipality due to my failure to report fraudulent activities. Neither of these statements are correct,” Sutcliffe said in a statement.

He also said the Manase and Associates report, which had uncovered allegations of fraud and corruption, had made no such claims against him and no such resolution had been taken.

“Yet, by making these statements, Sibusiso Sithole implied that I was guilty of criminal conduct and was derelict in my duty as a city manager at the time by failing to report misconduct,” Sutcliffe added.

In court papers, Sutcliffe’s attorney said Sithole’s statements were defamatory of and injurious to his client’s reputation.

“The said statements were intended by the second defendant to injure the plaintiff in his good name and reputation, were made knowing that they were false, alternatively with reckless indifference as to their accuracy,” the court papers said.

Sutcliffe also said he has instructed his legal team to take action against Zodwa Manase and Associates, which allegedly opened the door for the allegations and misreporting.

“There are instances where she failed to investigate certain matters that were brought to her attention and in others she chose not to use vital information that was given to her,” he said.

Sutcliffe also said Manase had acknowledged his attorney’s letter and indicated it would be sent to the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.

Sithole could not be reached, but municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng confirmed summons was served on the municipality on Thursday afternoon.

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